Even her big scary guys -- Bishop, Sweeney -- she deals with completely by trusting her inner voice, and the thing about her inner voice is, it doesn't use words. Just actions. So she's got to set up a dual-processor in her head now, to use the information instead of just acting on it. This is the secret of the puzzle Diane gave her this week, because Diane knows exactly what the difference is: It's the trick we play on women, by telling them how good it feels to give, and how scary it is when men are disappointed. It starts in the cradle, and the smarter you are the more power it can have over you. Especially when you keep using it to win.
The sheer percentage of management issues that fall into this category, Being The Bad Guy By Not Being The Bad Guy, is legendary and it's something Diane would know to watch out for with anybody. Even Cary would fall in this pothole a few times. But with Alicia, it's her whole deal. And whenever we question Diane's behavior it's because she's done this with less than total finesse: To be management is to shed your fear of being the bad guy, and trusting that you're doing the best possible job with what you have, regardless of what people might say or think.
It's what got us here -- but it's also what got us to those five fourth-year promotions that are strangling the firm the now. It's what got us here, but it's also what keeps Alicia suspended in this married/unmarried SchrÃ¶dinger's Box with Peter: If you are a good guy and are called upon to be the bad guy in order to be the good guy, you have to rise to the challenge or everybody loses. It's the management angle on the Will stuff last week: Just because I broke my own heart to get rid of you doesn't mean I was uninjured, I just have less ego on the table than everybody else. I was just willing to let you hate me for a minute, in order to save us both.
Lady: "So did St. Alicia sign off on the brief?"
Cary: "She's with Diane. Probably talking about other ways to burn us."
Team: "That's why we like you, you're still one of us."
Cary: "I'll work with whatever I have."
Will: "Hey guys, everything going okay?"
Cary: "We're not planning any sedition or anything."
Will: "Sure. Listen, you know she cut her own hours rather than cross you guys, right?"
Cary: "No, I did not know that. And hilariously enough, neither of us know she's right at this very moment getting barred from doing that anyway."
Will: "Well, keep up the good work. Assholes."